Make sure you have good lighting! You don’t want it too dark, but you also don’t want it too bright. Natural lighting is always the best for food photos, but you can also make use of any lights you use during your streams.
When taking your photo keep in mind the rule of thirds. Imagine that your image is divided into three lines vertically and three lines horizontally. An engaging photo won’t have your subject dead center of the image, but running along those third lines. This is a loose rule so things don’t need to be exact, but it’s a great thing to keep in mind. When following the rule of thirds, you always want the extra space to be in front of your subject, in the direction where they are looking.
Three Tricks to Editing Photos
The most important thing when editing food photos is for the dish to look natural. While you want your photo to pop, you still want to make sure that things aren’t under/over saturated, that your image isn’t dull, and that the true colors of the ingredients come through.
If you’re feeling fancy, you can break out Photoshop or another editing software--though you can also make some of these adjustments in the Instagram app. The top 3 things to adjust:
Sometimes, lighting can skew your photo away from the natural colors, which affects food more than other things! By making slight adjustments to warm vs. cool and green vs. magenta, you can make sure the true colors of your dish shine through. Often, your eye doesn’t catch that the coloring of a photo is off until you play around with these factors. Typically with food, you'd rather have things more on the warm & magenta side than the cool & green side, but each photo is different!
In the above photo, the change is subtle but powerful. By pushing things more magenta, you get more boost to the red notes of the berries, and the cake becomes warmer and more inviting.
Note: You'll see that the above photo does not follow the rule of thirds. Sometimes you just want your subject to be big, bold, and smack dab in the center.
If your image is looking a little flat, try boosting the contrast. A little goes a long way in making dishes pop!
You'll see in the example how the boost in contrast enhances the details of the ice in the cocktail and the toppings on the pizza.
A slight saturation boost can also help bring some vibrance to your photo. Be careful not to push things too far, or your dish will start to look unreal.
Though the change is subtle, notice how the meatballs and sauce seem warmer and more inviting.